Once upon a time, in a small kingdom by the edge of a wide, sweet sea there lived a King and Queen who reigned happily over their people. There was but one wee grey cloud in sll the kingdom…
The King and Queen were only able to have one child…
The Lady Anemone Fionn, a daughter they deeply adored, for all that she was a solemn, chubby child who preferred the company of books and commoners to days spent gossiping in the court. Since she was not the prettiest of children and did not have the sprightly temperament of many princesses, they despaired of her ever being happily wed.
So she was allowed to wander among the commoners in sparrow-brown garb, where she learned about love and kindness, as well as tolerance in the huts and shops of the capital city. As she began to grow older, she accepted the training she would need to be their heir without complaint or rebellion. She wished to serve her country with the best she could be.
It was early in her training that the first letter from the Green Man came to them, aboard a gaily-painted ship, with sails of exotic silks. One of the letters was given up to the King and Queen, requesting their daughter’s hand in marriage when she came of age.
The other letter was delivered to the young Lady; from that day on she kept all of the Green Man’s letters in a box of delicate silver filigree. She wore the key to the box around her neck on a plain silvery chain.
“Anemone Fionn, Sweet lady of the Beaches, you hold my heart in your gentle hands. My Spirit sings at the merest thought of you, and my heart beats in tune with thine. When the day comes that all see the beauty I do I shall claim you as my beloved bride.”
His words had lost no power since they had been given to her by a man from the Green Man’s country when she had not yet blossomed into womanhood.
When the arrogant young princelings would laugh at her face and form she would reread them and find much comfort in the words he had written only for her.
When no nearby princes or kings asked for her hand, she begged her parents to accept the Green Man’s pledge, and betroth her to the man who had comforted her, and sparked her mind to discover more about the world than any other Princess deigned to pretend to know.
And so it came to pass, after many long years that the Green Man wrote to the Lady and told her. “I will be with you in truth with the coming of summer my sweet Lady Anemone.”
Faioléan the seagull perched close to the sorrowful lady and spoke in his skree-ing language. “Weep not my lady fair. The Uaine Fear, comes to claim thee, sailing across the wide green seas.”
The lady did return, “O Faioléan tell me true, does he love this plain face of mine?”
“Fear not fair Lady Anemone, the Uaine Fear comes for you, seeking yon beauty across the wide, green seas
The Seagull hopped close enough for the Lady to smell the sea and fish on his feathers, his bright eye locked with hers.
“Fear not dear Lady, for the Uaine Fear cometh to you, seeking your beauty and pure spirit.”
So the lady returned day after day, waiting by the ocean for this secret lover who sought her.
Her pale cheeks were given a golden glow by the sun’s light, and the gentle, salt air of the ocean soothed her breathing so much so that she even stopped coughing.
The dull brown hair that had been so lifeless and limp began to have secret tints of gold in its curls.
The longer she remained by the sea, and forsook the rich food and many sweets in the castle the slimmer her limbs became, and her skin became smooth and honeyed.
Every day the same gull was at her side, reassuring her of the Green Man’s advance across the wide, sweet sea.
Every day, the sailors on the docks, calling to her how pretty she was becoming, greeted the Lady and she would thank them prettily for their kind words.
Every night as she lay in her soft, fluffy bed the Green Man would send nightingales to sing her to sleep. In their sweet voices she heard the words the Green Man had written to her all those years ago.
One summer day, years ago, the Green Man gifted her with vibrant silks to clothe herself with. They had delicate laces, golden and silver buttons, the fur of exotic animals, and rare jewels to sew to the clothes with Thread-of-Gold.
Every season the Lady would take them out and ponder dresses from them, and them put them away, until she would have a fairer form to wear them upon.
One day as she dressed in another drab gown, that now hung off her like sails on a windless sea, her ladies-in-waiting all conspired to measure her for a new gown.
While the Lady waited at the shore for the Green Man, the ladies in waiting made her a new gown, from a deep peacock blue silk, trimmed with Peacock’s feathers and Thread-of-Silver, and many, many tiny pearls crusting the bodice.
When the lady returned that evening, and began to ready herself for dinner her ladies-in-waiting slipped the blue gown over her head, and styled her hair to show off the golden dusting on the soft curls.
The Lady looked in her polished silver mirror, and stared. Surely this lovely creature brushed in gold dust couldn’t be her!!
From whence had come the womanly curves, and kissable freckles?
The same princes and Kings who had jested at her expense gathered about her, each vying for her full attention.
She laughed and treated them with tolerance, but none of them turned her head from the Green Man, who had sought her hand when no others would.
Night after night, she fended off a parade of handsome Princes and Kings. Day after day her ladies fashioned another gown, trying to outdo the previous one in beauty and uniqueness.
Day after day she watched the seas for some sign of the green Man’s bright sails on the horizon.
At last there was only white silk that seemed to hide all other colours in its shadows left in her case of fabrics.
She took it out and caressed it, delighting in the way it slid through her fingers. “I wish to save this gown for when my future husband, the Green Man, arrives. And this is how I want it to look.”
And so it was that her ladies fashioned a gown to be the envy of every highborn woman in every country.
It was of clean and simple lines, and a bodice set with squares of abalone, mother-of-pearl, and lapis lazuli set in it like a necklace. With Thread-of-Silver, they embroidered circles of ivy, mistletoe sprigs, holly, and white roses along the bottom of the gown.
The lady went to the Royal Jeweller and asked him to make her a discrete coronet. A silver band to sit among her curls, engraved with flowers, and set with magical stones that continued in the silver netting that fell to the ground.
The lady tried it on, and she was well pleased and thanked her ladies-in-waiting with generous gifts and sweet words of gratitude.
And so, not long after, she spied a black spot on the horizon. Her heart beat so she could barely breathe, and she ran home, calling for her ladies in waiting as soon as she had seen the bright colours of the Green Man’s sails.
Once she was dressed in her white gown and she had caught her breath she returned to the docks to await the Green Man.
At long last, the Green Man’s fleet filled the harbour, their sails were each of a different pattern of silk, and they lay at anchor peacefully.
With all due ceremony, and great pomp, the Green Man walked from his ship, across the plank, and onto the dock, where the Lady awaited him with bright eyes and glowing smile.
She could see nothing of his face behind a cunningly carved emerald mask. At last they stood face to face, and still he held up the mask.
My Dear Lady of the Blue Harbour. Will you still wed me?”
The Lady answered happily. “I have awaited this day forever and a day, yes, I will wed you.”
At last the Green Man took down his mask, showing everyone an ugly, twisted old man’s face with spindly legs and potbelly.
“One last time I would ask thee. Wilt thou marry me as I am?”
“I will marry thee, whether thou art handsome or no. You have always treated me with gentleness and respect, and have gifted me with loveliness and comfort. Yes, I will gladly call you husband, and follow wherever thou wilt go.” The Lady knelt in her white raiment and kissed the wrinkled hand tenderly.
The Green Man threw back his cape and dashed the mask to pieces on the dock’s planks. “And so our love will be fulfilled.!!”
In a flash of golden light he stood tall, becoming a young and very handsome prince, medals at his breast and a golden crown covered in rare jewels sat amongst his golden brown curls. His sea green eyes were afire with love for the Lady.
“When I was young a Sorceress cursed my Kingdom and me. Neither would know a happy day, or prosperity until I would be accepted by a Lady who did not recoil at the ugliness she set upon me.”
And so it was that the Green Prince and his White Lady were married and travelled to his Kingdom on the other side of the deep, sweet sea, where they lived happily ever after, and made sure that the people of their kingdoms would know happiness as well.
Again, what has this to do with out Tarot Journey? This surely is The Lovers of the Major Arcana. The choice between love and lust, a true connexion, and a passing fling.
"Love has a thousand feathers."